Argentinian Boy Names: the full guide

If you have read our article about Argentinian girl names, you must already know that most names used in Argentina have Spanish or Italian origins.

Some sources estimate that up to 67% of Argentinians have European ancestry, which explains why there are so many European surnames in Argentina.

Because the majority of immigrants have always been Spaniards and Italians, Argentina’s culture and first names are mostly defined by these ethnic groups.

This is because Argentina was a colony of Spain for almost 300 years. Then, Argentina went through several waves of Italian immigration.

The first one started after Argentina’s governing elites —there was no president at the time— issued the 1853 Constitution of the Argentine Nation, which included several policies that favored European immigration.

The plan was to populate rural areas that once were the native lands of indigenous groups displaced by Spanish conquerors. In fact, almost 80% of Italian immigrants were found to be agricultural workers by the 1900s.

They were primarily male; however, the most popular boy names in a 1922 census were of Spanish origin, as you can see in the following list:

Table: Popular boy names in Argentina (historical data)
Argentinian Boy Name Meaning
José (hoh-seh) “God will give”. Spanish and Portuguese version of Yosef (Hebrew), Joseph (English), Iosephos (Greek).
Antonio (ahn-toh-nee-oh) From Roman family name Antonius, meaning “flourishing”, “praiseworthy”. Also used in Italy.
Luis (loo-ees) “Famous warrior”. Spanish version of Louis (English) and Ludwig (Germanic).
Juan (who-ahn) Spanish form of John, meaning “God is gracious”, “graceful”, “gift of god”.
Manuel (mah-noo-ehl) Spanish and Portuguese version of Hebrew name Immanu'el, meaning “God is with us”.
Francisco (frahn-sees-coh) From Latin name Franciscus, meaning “free man” or “frenchman”.
Carlos (car-lohs) Spanish and Portuguese form of Charles (Germanic variant: Carl), meaning “free man”.
Miguel (mee-ghehl) Originally of Hebrew origin, Miguel is the Spanish and Portuguese form of “Who is like God”.
Pedro (peh-droh) From the latin word “petra”, meaning “rock”, “stone”. Spanish and Portuguese form of Peter.
Juan Carlos (who-ahn car-lohs) Combination of Juan and Carlos.

Popular boy names in Argentina

Although all of the aforementioned names are classic, none of them is actually trendy nowadays.

In the official census in 2015, the top 10 most popular boy names in Argentina show a slightly heavier presence of names of Italian origin.

These names are:

Table: Popular boy names in Argentina (recent data)
Argentinian Boy Name Origin Meaning
Benjamin (behn-ha-meen) Hebrew “Son of the right hand”.
Valentino (bahl-ehn-tee-noh) Italian “Strength”, “health”. Male version of Valentina.
Santino (sahn-teen-oh) Italian Derived from the Latin word “santo”, meaning “sacred”, “little saint”.
Bautista (bau-tee-stuh) Spanish “Baptist” (in reference to John the Baptist, a Christian preacher from the area of Jordan River in Middle East).
Mateo (mah-teh-oh) Spanish Spanish form of Italian “Matteo” and English “Matthew”, meaning “gift of God”.
Joaquín (wa-keen) Spanish Spanish version of Hebrew name Joachim, meaning “lifted by Yahweh” or “God will judge”.
Felipe (fuh-leep-eh) Spanish Spanish and Portuguese form of Greek “Philippos”, meaning "friend of horses".
Benicio (behn-ee-see-oh) Spanish Spanish form of English “Benedict” and Latin “Benedictus”, meaning “the benevolent one”
Lorenzo (lohr-ehn-soh) Spanish, Italian “From Laurentum”, an ancient Roman city of Latium.
Juan Ignacio (who-ahn ihg-nahs-ee-oh) Spanish, Italian A combination of Juan + Ignacio. “Ignacio” is of Italian origin, meaning “fiery”.

A report by the Civil Registry of Buenos Aires —Argentina’s capital city— from 2019 also reveals the popularity of these names:

What other boy names are popular in Argentina?

Some boy names do not appear in official reports, but are commonly heard in Argentina.

Here are some of those names:

Other boy names which are popular in Argentina
Argentinian Boy Name Origin Meaning
Alejandro (ahl-eh-han-droh) Spanish “Defender of mankind”
Ariel (ah-ree-ehl) Hebrew “Lion of God”
Brian, Bryan (bry-un) Irish, Breton, Old Celtic “High”, “noble”
Bruno (broo-noh) Italian From Bruno, Asti. Also, “brown”
Cristian (crees-tee-ahn) Spanish, Italian Variant of Christian, meaning “I am Christ”
Damián (dah-mee-ahn) Greek “Tame”, “subdue”, “master”, “conquer”, “overcome”. May also be linked to Greek goddess of fertility, Damia or Demeter.
Daniel (dah-nee-ehl) Hebrew “God is my judge”
David (dah-beed) Hebrew “Beloved”
Diego (dee-eh-goh) Spanish “Supplanter”, “teaching”
Facundo (fah-coon-doh) Spanish, Portuguese “Eloquent”, “talkative”
Federico (fed-eh-reek-oh) Spanish, Italian “Peaceful ruler”
Fernando (fehr-nahn-doh) Spanish, Portuguese “Adventurous”
Gabriel (gah-bree-ehl) Hebrew “God is my strength” (often linked to Archangel Gabriel)
Gonzalo (gohn-sahl-oh) Spanish “Battle”
Guillermo (gee-yair-moh) Spanish Spanish form of William, meaning “strong-willed warrior”, “with gilded helmet”
Gustavo (goos-tah-boh) Spanish, Italian, Portuguese “Staff of the gods”
Hernán (ehr-nahn) Spanish “Spiritual traveler”
Ignacio (eeg-nah-see-oh) Spanish, Galician “Born from the fire”
Iván (eev-ahn) Slavic “God is gracious”. Slavic form of John and Juan
Javier (ha-bee-ehr) Spanish “New house”
Lautaro (lah-oo-tah-roh) Mapuche, Araucanian “Swift hawk”, “daring”
Luciano (loo-see-ahn-oh) Spanish, Italian, Portuguese “Light”
Martín (mahr-teen) Latin “Of war”, “warlike”, “of Mars” (Roman god of war).
Matías (mah-tee-ahs) Hebrew “Gift of God”
Mauro (mah-oo-roh) Italian “Moor”, “moorish”, “North African”, “dark skinned”
Pablo (pah-bloh) Latin “Small”, “humble”
Ramiro (rahm-ee-roh) Spanish “Supreme judge”, “great judge”, “renowned counselor”
Rodrigo (rohd-ree-goh) Spanish, Portuguese “Famous ruler”
Santiago (sahn-tee-ah-goh) Spanish, Hebrew, Latin “Saint James” or “supplanter”
Sebastián (seh-bahs-tee-ahn) Greek From Sebastia, a city now called Sivas
Sergio (sehr-hee-oh) Spanish, Portuguese, Italian “Servant”, “attendant”
Walter (wahl-tehr) Germanic “Commander of the army”

Rare boy names in Argentina

Until 2015, it was hard to register a baby boy with a rare name in Argentina. This is because there was a naming law from 1969 which stated that names that sounded “extravagant, ridiculous, contrary to Argentine customs or ideology, or that could cause confusion about a person's sex” were strictly forbidden.

The government had a list of approved names and it was difficult to register a child with a name that wasn’t on the list. It wasn’t impossible, but the parents of the newborn had to start a legal process to ”convince” the authorities that the name was valid.

This changed in 2015 when a new naming law redefined the concept of a “ridiculous, extravagant name”, reducing it to a name that is offensive or causes shame or humiliation to the person who has it. Consequently, people could start naming their babies with unisex names and foreign names from different cultures (other than Italian and Spanish).

The pool of baby boy names in Argentina is now richer, including names such as:

Table: Rare (or newer) Argentinian boy names
Argentinian Boy Name Origin Meaning
Abel (ah-bell) Hebrew “Breath”, “vapor”. Also: Assyrian for “son”.
Adriel (ahd-ree-ehl) Latin “Son of Adria” or “from Hadria”. A variant of Adrián/Adrian.
Amaru (ah-mah-roo) Incan “Large snake”, “eternal”, “rain”.
Atahualpa (ah-tah-oo-ahl-pah) Quechua “Fortunate hen”. This is the name of the last sovereign Inca emperor.
Basilio (bah-see-lee-oh) Greek “Royal”, “kingly”.
Catriel(caht-ree-ehl) Hebrew “My crown is God”.
Cruz (cr-oo-s) *Juan Cruz is more popular Spanish, Portuguese “Cross”.
Donato, Donatello (dohn-ah-toh, dohn-ah-tehl-loh) Italian “To give”.
Efraín(ehf-rah-een) Spanish, Hebrew “Fruitful”.
Enrico*(ehn-reek-oh) *A less popular version of Enrique Italian “Homeowner”, “king”.
Estefan*(ehs-tehf-ahn) *A less popular version of Esteban Spanish, Greek “Garland”, “crown”, “crowned in victory”.
Gael (gah-ehl) Breton, Welsh “Joyful”.
Isidro (ee-seed-roh) Spanish “Gift of Isis” (Egyptian goddess).
Merlín(mehr-leen) Welsh “Sea fortress”.
Rocco(rock-oh) Old German, Italian “Rest”, “repose”.
Tristán (tree-stahn) French “Sorrowful”, “sad”.
Zenón (sehn-on) Greek Spanish form of Ancient Greek “Zeus” (sky and thunder god in ancient Greek mythology).

Nicknames for common Argentina boy names

In Argentina, we have nicknames for some specific boy names. For example, elder men named “Francisco” are often nicknamed “Paco” or “Pancho”, and elder men whose name is “José” are often called “Pepe”. In younger men, we can find that boys called “Ignacio” are often nicknamed “Nacho”.

But Argentinians also tend to shorten names that have two or more syllables. Therefore, here is what people would actually call you if you had these names:

Table: Nicknames for Argentinian boy names
Argentinian Boy Name Nickname
Adrián Adri (ah-dree)
Agustín Agus (ah-goos)
Alejandro Ale (ahl-eh)
Ariel Ari (ah-ree)
Bautista Bauti (ba-oot-ee)
Benjamín Benja (behn-ha)
Damián Dami (dah-mee)
Daniel Dani (dah-nee)
Emanuel Ema (eh-mah)
Emilio, Emiliano Emi (eh-mee)
Ezequiel Eze (ehs-eh)
Facundo Facu (fuc-oo)
Federico Fede (fed-eh)
Fernando Fer (fehr)
Franco, Francisco Fran (frahn)
Gabriel Gabi (gah-bee)
Gonzalo Gonza (gohn-sah)
Guillermo Guille (geesh-eh)
Gustavo Gus, Gusti (goos, goos-tee)
Javier Javi (ha-bee)
Lautaro Lauti (lah-oo-tee)
Manuel Manu (mahn-oo)
Matías Mati (mah-tee)
Máximo, Maximiliano Maxi (max-ee)
Miguel Migue (mee-geh)
Nicolás Nico (neek-oh)
Ramiro Rami (rah-mee)
Rodrigo Rodri (rohd-ree)
Santino, Santiago Santi (sahn-tee)
Sebastián Sebas, Sebi (seh-bahs, seh-bee)
Tomás Tomi (tom-ee)
Valentino Valen (vah-lehn)